•The tactician spoke after two Hit Squad luminaries made a resounding statement in their preliminary bouts by knocking out their opponents at the Dakar Arena.
•On the other hand, flyweight David Karanja defeated Thibaut Justin Ngbandamale of Central Africa Republic courtesy of Referee Stop Contest Round 1 ( RSC).
Hit Squad head coach Benjamin Musa has predicted a bumper harvest for Kenyan pugilists at the ongoing Boxing Africa Qualifier for Paris 2024 in Dakar, Senegal.
The tactician spoke after two Hit Squad luminaries made a resounding statement in their preliminary bouts by knocking out their opponents at the Dakar Arena.
The star-studded contingent of 12 Kenyan flag bearers comprise the talent-laden pool of boxers targeting Olympic quota berths at the tournament that will run from September 9 -15 in the Senegalese capital.
Hit Squad captain Boniface Mugunde caused a major upset when he knocked out 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medalist Mohamed Rabii of Morocco — also the 2015 world championship gold medalist.
On the other hand, flyweight David Karanja defeated Thibaut Justin Ngbandamale of Central Africa Republic courtesy of Referee Stop Contest Round 1 ( RSC).
"This is the dream start everyone in the camp had looked forward to and there is more still coming," Musa said.
The gaffer attributed their morale-boosting start to adequate preparations they did in Havana, Cuba.
"The fruits of the trip reflected in the results and we are glad we got such a rare opportunity to hone our skills in Cuba before coming here," Musa said.
He expressed confidence in the ability of Kenyan boxers to brush aside stage fright and leave a mark in Dakar with unprecedented masterclass acts.
"Our boxers are aware we are under the pump to restore our tainted image on the global front. We are most definitely going for every single Olympic slot we can lay our hands-on," Musa said.
Musa reminded the Kenyan team of the need to punch above their weight in every stage of their lofty slot-hunting campaign.
"We expect tough competition especially after the number of slots was reduced. Only one men's quota spot is available in each of the seven classes for the Africa qualifier.
However, there are two spots available in each of the women's weight classes in Dakar, except the 75 kg division.
"The number of weight classes for men was decreased by one to seven, while the number of divisions for women was increased by one to six.
Boxers, who don't qualify for quota seats in Dakar, will have another chance at the two world qualification competitions in Busto Arzizio, Italy from February 29 to March 12, and Bangkok, Thailand from May 23 to June 3.
This is the second qualification for Paris, following the European Games in June, where 44 boxers earned quota spots for their National Olympic Committees (NOCs).